Psychoanalysis > Definition


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What is Psychoanalysis

Today psychoanalysis is very familiar for the wide public after it has been either rejected or adulated for a long time. But, as a paradox, the success achieved for example in the fifth decade, especially in Europe, estranged it from its essence.

Freud and Fliess picture
Sigmund Freud (left) with his friend Wilhelm Fliess. Beside Freud, Fliess played an important role in the birth of psychoanalysis
Psychoanalysis spread everywhere but not only due to the interest incited by its therapeutical method. It could even say that therapy was shadowed by the virtues of its application to other domains. Psychoanalysis applied in literature, sociology, anthropology, ethnology, religion and mythology incited the interest of a public that had no inclination towards the clinical realm.

Finally, psychoanalysis also distinguished itself through media using the most common means: radio, TV or film scripts. Famous movies put an emphasis on psychoanalysts. There was even a movie dedicated to Sigmund Freud which presented the incertitude years of his beginnings in psychoanalysis.

The multitude and complexity of the sources from which we receive today signals about psychoanalysis raise an important issue: psychoanalysis is no longer clearly defined in the eyes of the wide public. Today nobody knows for sure what psychoanalysis is and wants. Unfortunately no effort is made in order to clarify this crucial aspect

So we must clearly state right from the beginning what psychoanalysis is. Then we will follow the other steps in order to penetrate the mystery of this strange subject-matter.

A Definition

Psychoanalysis designates concomitantly three things:

    1. A method of mind investigation. And especially of the unconscious mind;

    2. A therapy of neurosis inspired from the above method;

    3. A new stand alone discipline who is based on the knowledge acquired from applying the investigation method and clinical experiences.

Consequently there is nothing vague in the definition of psychoanalysis.  Psychoanalysis is a specific mind investigation technique and a therapy inspired from this investigation. We would say, first and foremost, therapy, in order to emphasize even more that psychoanalysis implies no speculation, that it is closer to psychotherapy and farther from philosophical speculation.

The psychoanalytical science (applied to cultural facts) that we were mentioning at the third point comes to light from Freud's famous study called Totem and Taboo, in which he launches himself in social and anthropologic analysis relying on the knowledge extracted from applying psychoanalysis to neurosis therapy. Who wants to know more about the speculative aspect of psychoanalysis must absolutely read the mentioned book.

Main Facts

- Psychoanalysis is the Sigmund Freud' s creation.

Freud working  on the manuscript of Moses...
Freud reviewing his Moses
and Monotheism manuscript
- Freud lived most of his life in Vienna and died in London in 1939. He discovered psychoanalysis by systematizing ideas and information coming from different, theoretical and clinical directions.

- The self-analysis, to which Freud was submitted himself, represented the biggest contribution to the birth of psychoanalysis.

- Freud was a Jewish neuropathologist who tried to set up a psychoanalytical movement with the help of non Jewish specialists in order to make his orientation more reliable. In this context he collaborated with outstanding personalities, such as: Carl Jung, Alfred Adler, Sandor Ferenczi, Wilhelm Reich and more.

- The psychoanalytical movement initiated by Freud went through a lot of ideological break offs and difficulties. Today it is inherited by a series of national or international societies that dispute their supremacy.

Read more about psychoanalysis by browsing the pages of this site (see the menu on left) or by taking our course intended for beginners. The course is the best method because it offers a systematized approach which helps one find his/her way in this complex discipline. -> Click here to learn more.

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